Maputo - Five people died in floods in southern Mozambique, the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) said on Wednesday as efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people in affected areas continued.

A news crew from Mozambique public television, TVM, which flew over the flooded areas, reported that there were many more deaths in the city of Chokwe, but could not give a precise figure.

“The situation is dramatic, catastrophic and we are still struggling to evacuate people from the risk areas,” said Rita Almeida, an INGC spokesperson. “We managed to rescue 10 000 people so far and relocate them to makeshift camps.”

Officials are calling for up to 55 000 people in affected areas to evacuate their homes.

In 2000, heavy rains killed 700 people and affected a million more. - Sapa-dpa